GameSkinny's Expert Tips: How to Defeat Iudex Gundyr, Heir of Fire in Dark Souls 3

Defeat Iudex Gundyr, the first boss in Dark Souls 3, like a pro with our expert tips and fight strategies.

Longtime Dark Souls veterans will have already defeated Iudex Gundyr, but this first boss battle in Dark Souls 3 could easily punish amateur players still warming up to the game's mechanics and grueling difficulty. With that said, we here at GameSkinny have specifically created an expert guide on how to defeat the towering Iudex Gundyr. Hopefully, newcomers to the Dark Souls series will find our information and fight strategies extremely beneficial to their success.

Initiating the Boss Battle

Follow the short path through the Cemetery of Ash until you're led into a makeshift arena surrounded by tombstones. You'll immediately notice an immobile Iudex Gundyr kneeling in the center of the area with a Coiled Sword impaled through his chest. Removing the Coiled Sword will initiate the boss battle, so make sure any last-minute preparations are handled beforehand.

Expert Tip

After you remove the sword from his chest, Iudex Gundyr will rise to a standing position and grab his cast-iron halberd in preparation for battle. During this short three-to-four second window, you'll be able to inflict some starting damage before the battle officially begins. You'll be lucky to connect more than a few standard hits (or a couple of charged heavy attacks) on Iudex before he begins his onslaught of hard-hitting attacks, so don't get too greedy.

It should also be noted that Warrior users can benefit from their class' damage buff during this moment. Tapping the left trigger while in two-handed mode will temporarily boost the damage you inflict on Iudex. We suggest activating this buff directly after you pull the sword out of him, which will allow you to deal even more damage to him during his brief rising animation.

Stage One

The large halberd Iudex is wielding grants him amble range and significant damage output. His delayed 2-hit combos can be devastating if they connect with you, so avoiding them altogether will prove to be essential. Relying on your shield to absorb Iudex's blows will substantially drain your stamina and potentially break your guard, leaving you open to his attacks momentarily. Thus, paying attention to Iudex's choreographed attack patterns and nailing perfectly timed dodges are the keys to escaping this boss battle alive.

Lock-on to Iudex and continuously move towards your right, circling around him as you try to avoid his thrusts and vertical slashes. You'll notice that this method will allow you to side-step most of Iudex's incoming attacks, but keeping your shield up (if your character has one) while utilizing this tactic will prevent you from receiving damage from misjudged side-step or evasive maneuvers. Evade his swings and strategically attack during his recovery times to initiate the second phase of this battle. If you must replenish your health, sprint a good distance away from Iudex before you risk taking a sip from your Estus Flask.

Stage Two

Once Iudex Gundyr's health bar is depleted to approximately 50 percent, he'll initiate phase two of the boss battle by violently transforming into a grotesque monstrosity of sorts. During this particular transforming animation, there's a short window in which Iudex is vulnerable to attacks. Make the most out of this momentary opportunity by damaging him with either two-to-three standard hits or one charged heavy attack before anticipating his next move.

Almost immediately after Iudex finishes his transformation, he'll initiate an extremely long-reaching forward lunge by jumping into the air and forcefully smashing downward towards you. Roll at the last minute in order to avoid this attack. This will ensure that the last half of this two-phase boss battle doesn't end with your instantaneous demise.

The tactics utilized during the first phase of this fight won't change after Iudex's transformation. Lock-on and continue to stay close to him while simultaneously circling his perimeter by moving towards your right. The moveset Iudex wielded during the beginning of the boss battle will have mostly been replaced by long-reaching, more damage-inducing attacks that will decimate you if you're not careful. Staying as close as possible will force Iudex to almost exclusively perform only a few attacks from his new moveset repertoire. To compensate, Iudex's will rely heavily on his swiping attacks and the long-reaching forward lunge we mentioned previously. Remember not to time your evade too early on the forward lunge, or Iudex will land this devastating attack on you in full force.

Expert Tip

Iudex's second form is susceptible to fire damage. If you're lucky enough to have acquired firebombs this early on, you can toss them at him from medium range to significantly deplete his health.

The best strategy for quickly ending this last phase of the boss battle is to consistently stay behind Iudex and attack him whenever you're not performing evasive maneuvering. It's entirely possible to do tremendous amounts of damage by simply keeping his back facing you at all times, and attacking with two-to-three hit combos whenever an opportunity arises. Once again, if you must replenish depleted health or stamina, do so by backing as far away from Iudex's reach as possible. Victory is almost upon you, and an untimely death this late in the boss battle would be extremely heartbreaking.

Basking in the Rewards

Conquering Iudex Gundyr, Heir of Fire will reward you with 3,000 souls, the Coiled Sword and Ember restoration, which grants you more health and the ability to partake in multiplayer capabilities such as summoning and invading. Furthermore, embedding the aforementioned Coiled Sword into the Firelink Shrine bonfire found in the next area will restore its power. This will allow you to freely teleport to any bonfire you ignite on your journey from this point forward.

Before you leave the area, make sure you also ignite the Iudex Gundyr bonfire. Upon death, you'll respawn here instead of at the Cemetery of Ash bonfire. This will eliminate the need to painstakingly re-defeat the enemies you've already slain during your first visit through the Cemetery of Ash.

You may have defeated the first boss, but the grueling punishment of Dark Souls 3 has only just begun. Check GameSkinny often for more expert tips on how to defeat the difficult bosses of Dark Souls 3, and emerge from this deadly adventure victorious.


Josh has been obsessed with video games since childhood, with titles such as Resident Evil, Tekken 3, and Devil May Cry inspiring him to become an avid gamer. With nearly four years of experience in the industry, Josh has written high-quality articles and reviews for video game publications such as Bag of Games and FilmGamesEtc. Outside of writing about video games, Josh can be found watching horror films, collecting Spawn comics, or making demon noises in his band The Human Dilemma.

Published May. 14th 2016

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